Consensus Algorithms, Optimizing Security and Performance and More With Hedera Hashgraph CEO Mance Harmon
For one of our more recent interviews on Real Vision Crypto, Senior Crypto Editor Ash Bennington had the pleasure to host Mance Harmon, CEO and Co-founder of distributed ledger platform Hedera Hashgraph.
The far-ranging discussion between the two took off in various different directions. Starting from his first steps in distributed ledger technology (DLT) while working with the U.S. Air Force, to the story behind the creation of Hedera Hashgraph, the interview ultimately culminates with a depiction of Mance’s view of the future of DLT and the ecosystems currently being built on the Internet.
Together with Mance Harmon’s exciting personal story, his appearance on Real Vision Crypto is ideal for anyone who wants to learn more about Hedera Hashgraph, the reasons behind its creation, its use cases, governance model and how it is different from other crypto projects.
Let’s get to it…
Who is Mance Harmon?
With an extensive background in Computer Science and decades-long practical experience in the space, Mance Harmon specializes in the areas of Machine Learning, Identity, Cybersecurity and Distributed Consensus Algorithms. A successful serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, Mance also taught Computer Science at the U.S. Air Force Academy and acted as Program Director for the Missile Defense War Games Project, where he developed games that helped the Air Force prepare for incoming ballistic missiles.
‘Remember the Movie War Games from the 1980s? I built the real thing.’
What is Hedera Hashgraph?
Having built a decentralized password manager for enterprise clients, over the years Mance Harmon developed an intricate interest in consensus algorithms, more specifically in the area of byzantine fault tolerance. Fellow computer scientist and now co-founder at Hedera, Leemon Baird, was also among those more active in that niche and had spent decades figuring out the perennial decentralized consensus mathematics problem – creating a consensus algorithm that maximizes for both performance AND security.
That was the starting point behind the creation of the Hedera Hashgraph project that kicked off as early as 2012. Fast forward to today, Hedera is a public proof-of-stake network billed as the ‘trust layer of the internet’, aimed at enterprise-grade clients and powered by its native HBAR token.
It is important to note, however, that Hedera Hashgraph is not a blockchain. Rather, it is a type of distributed ledger technology, akin to a blockchain which is also an extension of the same technology. More specifically, Hedera is (with the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious) a… hash graph.
According to Mance, Hedera Hashgraph has various use cases, with tokenization and supply chain management currently being the main ones used by the company’s clients.
Why Hedera Hashgraph?
Mance denotes the importance of distinguishing between the different generations of distributed ledger technology. While Bitcoin and Ethereum are first generation technologies, Hedera is a third generation tech.
So what does that mean? Right now, the Bitcoin network is relatively hindered performance-wise, while Ethereum’s is often congested. The general opinion, however, is that both are inherently secure. Circling back to where we started – the perennial decentralized consensus problem of being unable to optimize for both security and performance – and how Hedera potentially changes that dynamic.
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Governance on Hedera Hashgraph
Decisions on the Hedera network are collectively made by the Hedera Council, an independent body comprised of a number of globally-recognized organizations, each serving two-to-three-year terms for a total of six years. The Council boasts an impressive list of members (e.g. DLA Piper, Google, IBM, Standard Bank, Chainlink, Boeing, Deutsche Telekom) from varying industries and geographies. As far as voting is concerned, each Council Member is granted one vote without any additional weight.
‘That’s what we are. We are a network that is governed by some of the largest companies in the world. The way we envisioned this – we wanted to make sure the council represented the entire universe of use cases and geographies/jurisdictions. It keeps the dynamism and the ability to continue to see what’s going on a global scale and what is important.’
The Hedera Council just welcomed Chainlink as its first crypto member and the 21st overall. The plan is to grow the Council to as many as 39 total members.
Mance Harmon’s view of the future
Mance is a firm believer in DLT and envisions a world where everything is tokenized.
‘I think that the world is changing and it’s going to change very quickly. It is going to be tokenized. Everything you see and touch is going to end up having a digital token that is associated with it. Everything that flows through a supply chain will have a token that goes with it. Contracts, IP, etc…’
The result of that is going to be that the ownership and the transfer of these tokens, the value of having tokens in the first place is it reduces the friction and the transfer of these rights from one party to the next. If you can reduce that friction enough, then it gives rise to new business models and new types of marketplaces, specifically decentralized marketplaces.’
For even more on Mance Harmon, his background, the different types of DLT and Hedera Hashgraph, sign up to Real Vision Crypto (100% FREE) and watch his full interview with Ash Bennington here: https://www.realvision.com/shows/the-interview-crypto/videos/hedera-hashgraph-solving-for-performance-security-at-scale
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